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Measuring Training Effectiveness - A Literature Review.

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Measuring the impact of training on workplace performance and its contribution to organizational results is a matter of great concern for management in all types of organizations. As a result of growing economic pressures, business leaders are becoming more cost conscious and they are more sensitive about the return on training investment. In the current economic downturn, such pressures have further increased. Human resource managers and training professionals have to justify training expenses by providing some evidence about the positive impact of training dollars upon business results. Consequently, the issue of measuring training effectiveness has gained lot of importance over the last few years.

During the past four decades workplace learning & development professionals have done lot of work in the area of evaluating training effectiveness. Dr. Donald Kirkpatrick did some pioneering work in this field and introduced the well known four level evaluation model, which is still widely used in training industry. Later, some other experts also made contribution in this direction and made modification in the existing models.

The attached document provides a literature review on this subject and highlights the research work done in this field. Students of human resource management and training and development will find this material very useful as a reference for their academic assignments.

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Solution Summary

This document describes various models of evaluating training effectiveness. The material provides a thorough theoretical base on the subject of training evaluation. The discussion is supported by research work of leading experts.

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Quantitative Article Review

Quantitative Article Review
Choose an article that gives a clear demonstration of one of the required quantitative methodologies. Designate which methodology on the title page. Include as many of the following as appropriate:
I. Introduce the topic, include article title and author(s)
II. Research Problem
• What is the reason/purpose for the research?
• What problem was it trying to solve?
• Is the problem stated clearly and succinctly?
• Is background information on the problem presented?
• Is the problem important and relevant? Why or why not?
• Is the significance of the problem discussed; how the study will add to the "body of knowledge"?
• Does the problem communicate whether the study is descriptive, experimental or non-experimental?
• Does the problem statement indicate the variables of interest and the specific relationship between those variables which are investigated? When necessary, are variables directly or operationally defined?

III. Review of Literature
• Does the review of literature seem comprehensive? Are all important previous studies included? Does it include studies that you know to be relevant to the problem?
• Are up-to-date primary sources emphasized?
• Have studies been critically reviewed, flaws noted and have the results been summarized?
• Does the review synthesize studies directly related to the problem?
• Does the review explicitly relate previous studies to the problem?
• Is the review logically organized?
• Does the review establish a theoretical framework for the significance of the study?
• Does the review identify a "gap" in the literature?

IV. Research Question(s) & Hypotheses
• What is the research question(s) and corresponding hypothesis(es)?
• Does the research question follow from the literature?
• What are the independent and dependent variables?
• Is the hypothesis clear and concise and stated in declarative form?
• Does the hypothesis state expected relationships or differences?
• Is each hypothesis testable?

V. Selection of Participants
• What is the population? Is the population clearly defined?
• Are the size and major characteristics of the population studied described?
• If a sample was selected, what is the method of selection and recruiting the sample?
• Is the method of sample selection clearly described? Is it one that is likely to result in a representative, unbiased sample?
• Are the size and major characteristics of the sample described?
• Does the sample size meet the suggested guideline for minimum sample size appropriate for the method of research represented?
• Is there adequate assurance that the rights of human participants were protected?

VI. Instrumentation
• What instruments were used for data collection?
• Is the rationale given for the selection of the instruments (or measurements) used?
• Is each instrument described in terms of purpose and content?
• Are the instruments appropriate for measuring the intended variables?
• Is evidence presented that indicates that each instrument is appropriate for the population under study?
• Is instrument validity discussed and coefficients given if appropriate?
• Is reliability discussed in terms of type and size of reliability coefficients?
• If appropriate, are subtest reliabilities given?
• If an instrument was developed specifically for the study, are the procedures involved in its development and validation described?

VII. Design and Procedure
• Is the design appropriate for answering the questions or testing the hypotheses of the study?
• Are the procedures described in sufficient detail to permit them to be replicated by another researcher?
• If a pilot study was conducted, are its execution and results described as well as its impact on the subsequent study?
• Are the control procedures described?
• Did the researcher discuss or account for any potentially confounding variables that he or she was unable to control for?

VIII. Analysis and Results. [Note this is the "heart" of the review for this course. Be SURE that you demonstrate an understanding of the statistical method used and the analysis presented. Include specific results, don't just say they are in the article. If there is no hypothesis specifically given you should be able to write it out based on the method and discussion.]
• What are the specific results? (Use correct terminology and format for the statistical methodology. Make it clear you understand the method)
• Are appropriate descriptive statistics presented?
• Was the probability level at which the results of the tests of significance were evaluated specified in advance of the data analyses?
• If parametric tests were used, is there evidence that the researcher avoided violating the required assumptions for parametric tests?
• Are the statistical tests of significance described appropriate, given the hypotheses and design of the study?
• Was every hypothesis tested?
• Are the tests of significance interpreted using the appropriate degrees of freedom and effect size?
• Is lack of statistical significance properly interpreted?
• Are the results clearly presented?
• Are the tables and figures (if any) well organized and easy to understand?
• What are the key results of the paper? Are they complete?
• Do the results address the problem that the paper was trying to solve?
• Is each result discussed in terms of the original hypothesis to which it relates?
• Are the possible effects of uncontrolled variables on the results discussed?
• Is each result discussed in terms of its agreement or disagreement with previous results obtained by other researchers in other studies?
• Are the results reproducible?

IX. Conclusions
• Are generalizations consistent with the results?
• Are theoretical and practical implications of the findings discussed?
• Are recommendations for future research made?
• Are the assumptions and limitations of the study clearly stated?
• Was there information that the author omitted that you felt should have been included? What was the overall value added contribution the article offers? Does the article pass the "so what" test?
• Did the researcher answer the stated research question? Did you learn anything significant through this review process?
• Was the research well presented? What are strengths and weaknesses of the article?
• Describe how it may or may not be helpful to you in furthering your research goals.

X. References

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